The Allure of Confidence

Which one do you want to be?

Which one do you want to be?

From the time we are children until the day we die, we are saddled with self doubt and insecurity. It’s natural. It’s innate to all beings. The puppy that cries that first night in his new home when you leave him in the box with the blanket and the ticking alarm clock to replicate his mother’s heartbeat. He knows that a yelping puppy is not left behind in the pack and when he sees you close that door and leave him in the dark – his head gives him his first insecure message; he’s been left behind. His cries are intended to make sure this does not happen.

One of my first recesses in first grade found me joining in a game of kickball. My first time up, the pitch came in just right and I nailed it perfectly and sent it sailing over the fence for a home run. Everyone was amazed, including me. I never did anything like that before. Well here were all these new faces and all these new friends and I was suddenly this playground legend. I deliberately did not play again for weeks after because I knew my follow-up performance would never match up to the heroic home run I hammered on that first day. I wanted to ride the wave of that successful reputation. In time, I began to play again and became extremely average and soon the homerun story that everyone else used to tell faded away. I recall the attention it brought but more than that I recall the insecurity I felt when I was faced with the fact that if I tried it again and failed, I’d lose all that I had gained. In a first-grader’s world, that loomed large.

In the last 4 or 5 years, I’ve watched many friends lose jobs, homes, spouses and other valuable things as the economy has faltered and a personal financial crisis has put pressure on people they never felt before. A strained marriage, a mortgage one can barely afford, a job that often seemed expendable; all seem to collapse when the added pressure of a lack of funding appears. At the peak of these breakdowns, people are told to “dig deep and find the best in themselves” but the fact is they are probably never weaker or more unable to mount a comeback than right then. Sometimes it is merely primal survival skills that help them right their ship and get back on track. But knowing that the waters are teeming with potential problems such as these, how can we prevent this seemingly inevitable course of events from happening?

I believe, as with current medical views, the best defense is often a good offense. There are preventative measures you can take to make yourself less vulnerable to losses and less likely to carry those lifetime insecurities right to your dying day.

It is important to note that what I am proposing here is not simply a formula for success rather a lifestyle change that’s intended to modify your approach. See, I believe people give off a sense of confidence or insecurity the minute they are encountered and no matter how they try to disguise it, if they are truly insecure about themselves or some extension of themselves it always can be detected. Once sensed, it does damage.

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